Rwadari Tehreek urges for constitutional restructurings in order to procure effectual political representation of the religious minorities. While observing the National Minorities Day on August 11, Thursday, Rwadari Tehreek which is a staunch advocacy group of pluralism called for constitutional reforms in the country.
The group organized a seminar at Lahore Press Club, in order to mark the minorities’ day 2016. In a press release Rwadari Tehreek stated: “On National Minority Day, Rwadari Tehreek calls for a Constitutional Reforms Package to End Religious discrimination and to ensure effective political participation and representation of religious minority.”
This seminar was presided by distinguished Human Rights Activist and Professor of Journalism Dr. Mehdi Hassan. Chairman Rwadari Tehreek Samson Salamat was invited as the guest of honor. Other guests included Pandit Bhagat Lal Kokhar (Pandit of Balmik Mandhir), Mian Imran Masood (Central Information Secretary PML-Q), Sadia Sohail Rana (MPA PTI), Saeeda Diep (Chairperson IPSS), Tahir Naveed Chaudhary (Chairman, Pakistan Minorities Alliance), Bushra Khalique (Director of WISE) and Mr. Umar Farooq (Secretary General Rwadari Tehreek), Ms. Sabira Asmat (President Rwadari Tehreek Punjab) and Sheikh Iftikhar Rasool (President of Rwadarai Tehreek Lahore).
“We believe in social change through political process,” said Samson Salamat in his inaugural speech, and continued “however this is very unfortunate that power corridors are even without the true and genuine representation of the religious minorities due to ineffective representation at all tier of democratic system of Pakistan including at local government, provincial assemblies and national assembly, because the minority voters is not asked about their choice for their representation.”
During the seminar the participants of the seminar unanimously agreed upon the following:
Charter of Demand for the Protection and Promotion of Minority Rights:
•The speech of the Founder of Pakistan of 11th August 1947 to the Constituent Assembly should be made part of the Preamble of the Constitution of Pakistan and is should also be included in the curriculum of the educational institutions. The Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah during his first address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947 said “We are all citizens and equal citizens of one state….Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
•A Constitutional Reforms Package in consultation with minorities and civil society should be brought to end discrimination and biases and to ensure effective political participation and representation.
•Independent Commission on Minorities should be constituted at Federal and Provincial Levels through an Act of Parliament which should have the powers of a tribunal in the incidents of the violations of minority rights.
•A mechanisms should be evolved for the Implementation of the Supreme Court Judgment 2014 on the Protection of Minorities.
•The laws which are being misused to instigate violence should be reviewed which has led the destruction of the lives and properties of religious minorities
•Judicial Commission should be constituted to re-investigate the incidents where settlements of minority communities were mob attacked such as Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Sangla Hill, Joseph Colony incidents
•An independent Inquiry Commission should be made to assess the issue of forced conversion of the women and girls belonging to religious minorities. The findings of the Commission should be made public and those involved in forced conversion should be apprehended. Moreover a law should be made to ban forced conversion.
•An effective De-radicalization plan should be made which should include the ban on hate speech, elimination of biased material from the curriculum, and ban on all terrorist outfits, their financiers, facilitators and supporters and de-weaponization of the society to stop gun and bomb culture.